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We Have… So Many Questions

, , , , , , | Working | December 27, 2022

This just happened at the supermarket tonight. I had a fairly full cart, and when the cashier finished scanning my groceries and gave me my final total, I noticed that it was absurdly high.

Then, I saw that one of the last charges read, “LV CRB BUSH — $179.99.”

I didn’t even know the supermarket sold anything that expensive. I asked the cashier what the charge was, and she squinted at it and said she wasn’t sure. Then, it occurred to me that maybe “LV CRB BUSH” was short for “bushel of live crabs,” which, I guess, in theory, could cost that much. I don’t know; never bought live crabs.

Me: “Is that… a bushel of live crabs?”

Cashier: “Yeah, I think so. Is that something you didn’t buy?”

I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m also not exactly sure what to say.

Me: “I’m pretty sure I’d remember buying a bushel of live crabs.”

The cashier tried to figure out which of my items rang up that way, but it had all been bagged, and there was no way to figure it out without starting the whole giant transaction again. Then, she tried to void that sale, but for whatever reason, the computer wouldn’t let her. She summoned a manager.

Cashier: “How do I take this off?”

Manager: “What, he doesn’t want it anymore?”

Cashier: “No, he says he never bought it.”

Me: *Trying to be helpful* “I did not buy a bushel of live crabs.”

The manager pressed some magic buttons, and $179.99 was deducted from my final total. Phew.

Me: “Do you even sell live crabs?”

Cashier: “No.”

A Bunch Of Red Flags

, , , , | Right | November 23, 2022

I am a guide on a tour bus company in Washington, DC. We are driving past the Washington Monument.

Tourist: “How do they get all the flags to fly in the same direction?”

“West Virginia Board of Education V. Barnette” Would Like A Word

, , , , , , , | Learning | September 28, 2022

I moved from Australia to Washington DC for work for a year with my wife and thirteen-year-old son. We are proud Australians, and we try to keep a connection to home; I still watch Aussie Rules football and cricket, and I LOVE vegemite and always have it on hand.

We enrolled my son in the local public school and sent him for his first day. When I came home that night, I asked him:

Me: “How was your day, [Son]?”

Son: “I got in trouble for not pledging allegiance to the flag. I was put on a week of lunchtime detentions.”

I went to the school the next morning and spoke with the principal, who then called the teacher in. This teacher had a major attitude and was throwing out lines such as, “I did not fight for this country for the flag to be disrespected,” and something about “attitude problems”.

When I had a chance, I asked:

Me: “Would you pledge allegiance to the Australian flag?”

Teacher: “Of course not.”

Me: “That’s what you’re trying to make my son do — pledge to a flag he has no connection to.”

This teacher would not budge.

Teacher: “Every time [Son] refuses to pledge, he will get a week of lunch detentions.”

[Son] ended up changing classes, and his new teacher was a sweet older teacher who even had my son do a presentation about Australia and share vegemite sandwiches and fairy bread with the class.

This Dress Has Your Snobbery All Over It

, , , , , , , | Right | September 21, 2022

Customer: “I’m here to return this dress.”

This dress has makeup all over it. This is a high-end place and the item was super clearance.

Me: “We can’t return this item.”

Customer: “Honey, look at me. I make more in a year than you will in your lifetime. You’ll take this back, or you may not have a job in the morning.”

Me: “That may be so, but if you earn that much money, won’t I cost more on unemployment from your taxes than the cost of the dress?”

She left in a huff, never to be seen again.

Lost: One Potential Guest

, , , , , | Working | August 31, 2022

I had a friend who usually lived further away, but her husband was an aide to their state’s congressman, so he often had to travel from his home state to DC. During one of the husband’s DC visits, my friend and kids flew down to stay with mutual friends, catch up with Maryland friends, and get to see the husband after a long period without him. I ended up volunteering to play chauffeur for their first trip to the hotel where her husband was staying since they didn’t have a car while in MD.

My friend’s husband was a little jealous of me, so I deemed that my being there when he finally got to see his wife and kids again would be less than ideal. I suggested my friend take her kids up to visit with her husband and I’d hang out in the lobby and kill some time until they were done. This was before smartphones were ubiquitous, and I hadn’t brought a normal book, so I settled for an audiobook on my mp3 player and sat back in a lobby chair with my eyes closed listening to it while I waited.

Employee: “Hey, mister, you can’t be here.”

Me: “Oh? Sorry, is there somewhere else I should wait?”

Employee: “No, you can’t be in the hotel.”

Me: “Sorry, why not? I’m waiting for my friend to get back.”

Employee: “We don’t let homeless people sleep here.”

This was the sort of upscale, fancy, prestigious sort of hotel where you would expect a bunch of rich congressmen to stay. By contrast, I was wearing my usual sort of clothing which was… not fancy or prestigious. Still, while I wouldn’t have called myself fashionable, I was hardly dressed in rags, disheveled, or otherwise giving off a “homeless” vibe as far as I could tell. My only guess is that he’d noticed that I’d closed my eyes while listening to my book and thought I was trying to sleep there. I guess only homeless people could be tired in DC?

Me: “I’m not homeless. I drove my friend here to visit her husband and am waiting to give them a ride back after their visit is over.”

Employee: “If you have a friend here, you can call her and tell her to meet you outside.”

Somehow, he managed to add a note of skepticism to that “if” that was subtle enough that I couldn’t really call him out on it and yet was still very clearly there.

Me: “Her phone broke sometime last week and she hasn’t gotten a replacement yet, so I can’t call her.”

Employee: “I’ve already asked you to leave. If you don’t, I’m going to have to call the police.”

Me: “I didn’t say I wasn’t going, but I need to figure out somewhere for my friend to find me when she comes looking for me since I’m her ride. Can I at least give you my name and a description of her so you will be able to tell her what happened to me?”

Employee: “I’ve already told you—”

At about this time, I felt something grab my leg and looked down to see that one of my friend’s kids had run up and latched onto me while trying to surprise me.

Kid: “Boo!”

Me: “Ahh, you’re a scary monster! Should I assume your mommy monster is coming, too?”

Kid: “They’re over there.”

Sure enough, I saw my friend and her other kid walking toward us from the proffered direction.

Me: *To the employee* “Well, it looks like I can leave now if that makes you happy.”

Friend: “Is something wrong?”

Me: “Oh, nothing much, just that they need to call the police about my apparently having lost my house sometime in the last hour.”

Friend: “Huh?”

Me: “I’ll explain on the drive, but if you all are ready, we should head to the car so we can appease this man who doesn’t think I’m worthy of being in the presence of their clientele.”

My friend was upset once I clarified what happened in the car. She even offered to have her husband get his congressman to complain about it. But I didn’t see how it would really help, and I doubted her husband wanted to go through that much effort to defend me personally, so I told her to just let it drop.

On her next visit, my friend had one of our mutual friends drive her to the hotel, and in mock protest, my replacement driver dressed up in the fanciest dress she had so they would know she wasn’t homeless. Apparently, our mutual friend made a rather sarcastic complaint to the hotel management about their treatment of me, despite my saying it wasn’t worth it. Sadly, I missed it, so I can’t report its contents here.